meditation, when no time
The thing with yoga and meditation is, when you ‘don’t have the time’ you need it the most. I, as a mama to 18month old lady Lou, know this first hand. Before our girl was born I practiced yoga daily and enjoyed my established routine. I got up, showered, had a smoothie or juice, pottered around the kitchen and then slowly arrived on my mat about two hours later. I practiced 90 minutes per day. But my life, and the way my days are shaped, has changed.
Nowadays mornings are packed with changing diapers, getting (Lou) dressed, making (her) first and second breakfast, having breakfast together at the table, planning the upcoming day or week with my husband, doing laundry and a few other bits and bobs.
When she was really small I practiced during one of her 2hour naps and worked during the others. But when the amount of naps started to diminish and my workload started to increase I noticed me skipping practice. ‘I have so much to do. I don’t have the time.’
And with the skipping and the ‘no time mantra’ came small but sure amounts of irritability, mental chaos and restlessness. Science says meditation and yoga increase mental focus, immunity and emotional well-being. They up your mood and memory and make you relaxed and optimistic. They improve metabolism, increase energy, reduce blood pressure and diminish anxiety. I agree whole-heartedly.
As soon as I started to notice these adverse sensations I started to make a plan to reclaim my practice and feel like my usual and easy-going self. I wrote down some associations I had with ‘time’ and how I was spending it.
“Time is a strange thing. Sometimes a day can last lifetimes, while other days appear to be over in a jiffy.
It seems the older I get, the faster time goes.
As a kid I remember never ending summers. Now that I’m 34 I have to consciously enjoy them because before I know it it’s winter deep, and there are a whole lot of other seasonal phenomenas to cherish.
I need to slow down time to balance the fast paced society I live in.
I function best when I take a moment each day to slow down and connect to myself.
My practice needs to be a priority, it is worthy of my time, I am worthy of my time.
I need to create a plan to realize this. I need to establish a new routine to suit the life I live now.
Over time this routine will settle and become as certain and common as it used to be.“
After I had written these down I decided that I needed to adapt my routine to the here and now and not expect it to work the way it did before I became a mama. I needed a new plan. And I needed that plan to materialize and be acted out. To have it become a sure and certain part of my day again, like brushing my teeth and doing the dishes. So I made one that seemed totally do-able.
I talked to my husband, shared my needs and desires and asked him if he could gift me a little extra time to spend by myself, on my mat. He told me he could and would.
I am sure many of you relate. Our lives change constantly and it is up to us to be flexible, work with was is, adapt. Our routines, that which works for us, is temporarily thrown off balance by change. But by being aware of these changes, how they affect us and by making a conscious plan we can re-find our equilibrium asap. And yes, we are all so very busy. All of our lives appear full and time seems to be a gift we hardly allow ourselves to waste. But what are we busy with? Why do we over-value our busy-ness? And are all of the things we keep ourselves busy with of real importance? These are meaningful questions to ask, to see how we can still the irrelevant and emphasize the important.
Taking time to slow down and connect with myself daily, like a few other things in life, is essential to my long-term happiness and well-being. This realization makes it easier to actually step on my mat and do the practice, everyday, one breath at a time. I share my practical plan for (re)establishing a meditation or yoga practice below. Hope it helps you to slow down, reconnect and enjoy the time you are given here and now.
‘To slow down your own pace is to slow down time. If you want to have more time, drop your pace.’
Plan for (re)establishing a yoga / meditation practice:
1.Decide how long you’d like to practice. Shorter practices (15-30 minutes), more often (daily) work best because a 90minute practice can seem like a hurdle whereas 15 minutes is totally do-able. It basically lowers the threshold making it easier to step on the mat and keep doing it.
2.Grab our agenda and see which part of YOUR day is most suitable to do your practice. I have a musician husband who usually does not leave the house until 11am. Around 9am our breakfast routine is over. Lou is warm, fed and playing by herself, my husband watches over her and I can easily take some time to do my practice. 9am is now called practice time.
3.Find a practice that feels supportive to you. If you have no real experience with yoga or meditation establishing a practice can be extra challenging. By choosing a system or a platform to be guided by (there are many online meditation apps and yoga classes available) you know where to go and what to do even before you step on your mat or go sit on your cushion.
4.Encorporate meditative moments throughout your day. Before I go to sleep in the evening, I do 5 minutes of reclined (in bed) meditation. I do exactly the same before I step out of bed in the morning. I also close my eyes and follow my breath / meditate whilst commuting by train. I’ve practiced breastfeeding meditation during the whole year I was breastfeeding baby Lou. It adds up and makes the mind clear, sharp and happy.
4.Share with others (family, roommates) your need to take this time. Sharing and talking about it makes it easier to do. Thoughts and ideas become more solid and real when spoken out loud.
5.Now do it. Every day. Let it be an automatic gesture to step on that mat or cushion. Don’t think, just do. Make it obvious. Make it axiomatic. Let it become natural and common. Like brushing your teeth.
Other ways to slow down time:
Spending time in nature
Multimedia free moments
THANKS. clothing by puurstyle.